One More Note

March 24, 2010

Dear Alicia,

I’m the daddy who has loved you since the day you were born. I changed your diapers and taught you how to ride a bike. You always ran to me when you were afraid in the middle of the night. I’m the daddy you didn’t always think loved you, but I hope one day you see I disciplined you because I love you. Now we have driven you five hours away to college and we have taken all your things up to your dorm room. We have walked down the halls of your dorm and I pointed out the fire extinguisher to you. We have said goodbye. So, as always when I leave you, I am leaving you a note of my hopes and dreams and prayers for you. Now you are going off into the world your mother and I spent eighteen years preparing you for, these are the things I hope you remember.

First: Always be grateful and thankful. I hope you remember when you were young and watched Veggie Tales. One of the songs says “‘Cause a thankful heart is a happy heart.” People always enjoy being around grateful, thankful people. You are a blessed girl: beauty, brains, faith, family, support. Not everyone in this world has those things -- but you do. So give thanks. It doesn’t make you any better than others, but it is something to be grateful for.

And more importantly, be thankful in the tough times. Some things mean more to us when they are taken away. Running means more to you now, after you were unable to run for a time, than it did before. And remember when you were being picked on at school Mom told you to find one thing to be thankful for -- and then thought that there wouldn’t be anything? You found something to be thankful for. That attitude is outstanding.

Second: Know that even when you go off to college, I will always be there for you. If someone’s not treating you quite right or you are suddenly homesick in the middle of the night, know that I’m one phone call away. Remember the days when I drove you to your dance classes and back, and home from cross country practice? Remember me encouraging you at your meets and running all over the course to see you race? I always enjoy spending time with you. I hope you know I did those things because I love you and you’re my daughter. Not even 300 miles is going to change that. Nothing ever will.

Third: Never give up hope. I know you will go through tough times in your life -- you already have -- and the best pieces of advice I can give you are never lose hope and always pray. I hope you remember the tough times you have already experienced. In those times, you showed hope and faith. I pray your faith only grows stronger as you go off into this big world and I know with that, your hope will grow too. You know the picture of your cousin Holly Hope, with tubes weaving all around her and into her body? Well, don’t forget her story. Your Aunt and Uncle knew something was wrong and that she probably would not live -- but they had hope. You know that she only lived 19 days, but they still have hope of seeing her in heaven someday. So never lose hope.

Fourth: Be here for your family. Know that I love seeing you kids work together. I love hearing that you and your brother went and shoveled and your sister made you hot cocoa when you came in. I love seeing that you unloaded the dishwasher without being asked. I am proud of you when you help your brother and sister with their homework and when you are nice to them. I don’t like it when you fight with them, but I know it will happen. So watch out for them like you do, okay? Your family is always here for you.

Fifth: What brings me joy is a smile on your face. I only wish you happy days. And days will come when you’re down and you’re feeling so bad and people will hurt you because that’s what people do, but I hope you know I will always be praying for you. I know you remember the day the doctor said “she tore her ACL” and I hope you know I would have done almost anything to undo what happened or somehow make you better, and it bothered me that I couldn’t. You will learn from the tough times and they will teach you some good lessons, so remember them. You have what it takes to make it through.

Sixth: You are one smart cookie. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Use your brain girl! You know people will try to persuade you to hang out and not study don’t you? You know you will be tempted to go and hang out with your friends and I hope you do, but I hope you work hard at school too. And people will try to convince you a C is not all that bad. But I know you can do better.

I want you to know your ACT score is really good. I know many people who would be very happy if their kids got the score you got. And I am proud of you. So use your brains Alicia! I pray you succeed. I pray you also know that you are a good leader and that you use your abilities to lead others at the right time. You have already shown you have good leadership skills and I hope you continue to develop them. Give it your all girl, and love what you do.

Seventh: You are beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you different. Make sure when you go off to college and start dating that you are careful how you dress, because guys got eyes – I’ll leave it at that.

Know that beauty isn’t just on the outside, it’s on the inside too – that’s where it really counts. If you’re beautiful on the inside what’s on the outside does not matter so much. You are beautiful – inside and out.


Eighth: Don’t lose the wonderful girl you are. This doesn’t mean don’t change, you will change. Just don’t change so that people say “Hey! That’s not Alicia!” Don’t try to change to make friends or get a boyfriend. When you change like that, you lose some of yourself. You are too strong, beautiful, and smart a girl to lose yourself for someone else who will never be worth changing yourself for anyways. Be strong Alicia. Keep your integrity. Keep your spirit alive.

Eighteen years and these things are what I hope you remember. Remember the talks, the actions, the events that prove these all true. Remember this is because I love you. Eighteen years of learning, trying, falling, and getting back up. Now the training wheels are off and you’ve got to go ride. So ride girl! You can do it!
Love you, miss you,

The author's comments:
This piece is based off a couple years worth of notes my dad wrote to me every time he had to go out of town for business. In this piece I took from those notes to write the letter I imagine my dad would write to me when I go off to college soon.

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